The last 50 years have seen a massive transformation for women in the workplace. But even as the gender gap has closed, a substantial chasm survives between ideal equality and reality in too many industries and firms.
If you seek to interview for a job in one of these fields, you’ll may have to devise a smart plan of attack.
How to Win the Interview
Numerous variables go into determining who gets hired for an open position. Resumes, references, connections, experience, and certifications are just a few of those factors.
If you search for the most significant step in the application process, the interview most likely rises to the top of the list. The job interview represents the best shot you have at making a positive impression and forging a strong connection with the people you hope to work among.
When you’re a female applicant angling for a spot in a male-dominated workplace, the interview might be your biggest, even your only, opportunity to overcome the presumption that you’re not qualified or unable to fulfill the duties of the position you seek.
We don’t wish to oversimplify the process, but the following practical interview tips may help you score high in this endeavor.
Over-Research the Industry
When your gender may be putting you at a disadvantage from the start, you have to find ways to outperform the competition. Prior to the interview, take the time to research every aspect of the industry (and company) you can possibly study.
Learn the history of the industry, the current trends, projections for the market into the future, challenges, opportunities, competition, and so on. You may find multiple subtle opportunities to slip in small bits of the knowledge you’ve gathered to impress your potential employer.
The first impression can have a massive impact. What you wear plays a substantial role in how you’re perceived throughout the meeting. You want to give your interviewer(s) an attractive appearance that communicates confidence, but is also sleek and professional.
Stick with conservative colors such as blacks, whites, and greys. You may toss in a pop of color via an accessory.
Business pantsuits are usually a good idea in formal settings. If it appears to be a more casual workplace, go with a cute dress and suitable pantyhose … which can add an extra note of sophistication to a semi-formal ensemble.
Be Assertive, Not Aggressive
Like it or not, respect will have to be earned when you’re a woman in male-dominated arena. Even if you know what you’re doing, you want to avoid coming across as confrontational. You’ll need to be assertive, but not aggressive … and that’s an admittedly tall order.
Develop Thick Skin
You might encounter offhand comments, facial expressions, or other nuances you find personally offensive or belittling women in general, but you mustn’t let these get to you. During an interview, you may need to have a thick skin.
Let anything you perceive as a slight roll off your back. You will find a more appropriate time to address these issues after you’ve landed the post and established some on-the-job credibility.
Make Yourself Seem Indispensible
When a business owner or manager hires a person, male or female, the boss is looking for someone who appears to possess a skill, knowledge, or background that the rest of the candidates may not. If you can, try to find a way to make yourself seem indispensible. It’s the best way to land a job.
During the interview, what you don’t say may be just as critical as what you do. If you overstep, you might not get the chance to prove yourself.
Take care to show restraint. “As a rule, don‘t talk about money or benefits, especially during the first interview. You should already know if you fit the parameters,” The Undercover Recruiter advises.
“Don’t badmouth about any of your past employers. Organizations don’t hire complainers. Don’t mention outside career aspirations or part-time jobs. Employers are looking for people who want to be part of their organization for the next decade and beyond.”
Bite your tongue and be calculating about whatever you say. If you’re a good candidate, the first interview won’t be the last. There will be opportunities to address more sensitive issues at another time.
Don’t be Intimidated
The larger system is broken; or rather, it never operated fairly in the first place. Women shouldn’t have to work harder to obtain jobs in certain industries.
But for the moment, that’s the way things are. Instead of wallowing in rage, you should take the advice of those who have been in your shoes and do what it takes to put yourself in the position to be successful.
This means nailing the job interview to get your foot in that door.